Intellectual Output n°2: “Why New Faces”
Theatre and/in Crisis
This panel on "Theatre and/in Crisis" purposes to establish a dialogue between researchers in performance studies and artist Irina Brook, so as to broach both theoretical and practical issues, and combine a variety of points of view.
Florence March first proposes a theoretical frame to consider the way theatre articulates crisis. There seems to be no theatre without crisis, as if crisis was inherent to theatre. According to Jean Vilar, the founder of the Avignon festival in the aftermath of WWII, "as long as theatre goes through crises, it means it is well alive". Is crisis a norm when it comes to theatre? Florence March argues that theatre articulates crisis at structural and contentual levels. As a matter of fact, theatre is about taking risks, shifting points of view, decentring people in the audience, and creating debates. It is precisely because theatre invites us to take a step aside and to allow ourselves to be decentred that theatre is crucially important in times of crisis.
Irina Brook, a stage director and the head of the National Theatre in Nice on the French Riviera, grounds her reflection on theatre and crisis upon her Shakespearean experience in Nice. In 2015 she launched the first international festival entirely dedicated to Shakespeare in France, Shake-Nice! – a festival of popular theatre aiming to bridge the gaps in a socially very contrasted city, which was also sorely affected by terrorist acts in 2016.
Eventually, Janice Valls-Russell rounds off the panel by focusing on a series of case studies, examining how theatre can be a means to respond to crisis in different contexts. She discusses several projects that introduce students of secondary schools to Renaissance theatre through practice.